Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK


Health

Public fails to cancel appointments

Missed appointments mean longer waits for others

Patients who fail to cancel doctor's appointments in advance are costing the health service millions of pounds each year, a survey has found.

The Doctor Patient Partnership (DPP), basing its figures on a survey of 374 GP practices, estimates that 8,440,000 doctors' appointments are missed each year in the UK, at an estimated cost of £152m.

The survey found that each GP on average has 4.5 appointments missed each week - almost three per cent of the total.

In addition, thousands of appointments with practice nurses are also missed each week.

The DPP, set up by the British Medical Association and the Department of Health to encourage proper use of the NHS, has launched a "Keep it or cancel it" campaign, which aims to reduce the number of missed appointments by raising awareness of the extent of the problem.

Wipe boards for displaying numbers of missed appointments in the surgery at to be distributed to GPs across the country along with "Keep it or cancel" stickers.

NHS under strain


[ image: Dr Simon Fradd warns of excess demand on the NHS]
Dr Simon Fradd warns of excess demand on the NHS
Dr Simon Fradd, DPP chairman, said: "Considering the strain the NHS is under to meet demand the cost of missed appointments can be ill afforded.

"At the end of the day each missed appointment means more time waiting in the surgery."

Rosie Foster, chief executive of the Association of Managers in General Practice, said attempts by GP practices to draw attention to the problem had categorically failed.

She said: "The results of this survey are simply shocking. It should be headline news in the national papers and become as high profile as drink driving campaigns."

Vanessa Bourne, chair of the Patients' Association, said: "Patients can make their own vital contribution to cutting waste in the NHS by supporting this campaign.

"A pound spent on health care can only be spent once and too many are wasted by missed appointments."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

30 Jun 99†|†Health
Remedy for patient ignorance

22 Dec 98†|†Health
Patients urged to pick up the phone





Internet Links


Doctor Patient Partnership

British Medical Association

The Patient's Association


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99